Brooks Sports, Inc. designs and manufactures high performance running footwear for men, women and children. The company, known for its breakthrough advancements in running shoes, also incorporates sustainability practices into its products and manufacturing processes.
One of Brooks’ newest products, Green Silence, is a high performance, sustainable competition racing flat. Every component in the shoe has a sustainable element. Seventy-five percent of the materials used in the eco-friendly shoe are post consumer recycled (PCR). Other features of the Green Silence shoe include:
- Packaging is 100 percent PCR
- Only non-toxic dyes, colorants and water-based adhesive labels are used
- The outsole is made out of 30 percent recycled rubber
- While similar running shoes are comprised of 54 components, the Green Silence shoe contains 26 parts, saving oil and energy
- Heel counters are partially made out of recycled CDs
- Shoe laces, webbings and meshes are made from recycled water bottles
The colorful, unisex Green Silence shoe boasts bright red and yellow hues. Weighing just 6.9 ounces, Green Silence shoes are comfortable and light-weight, according to reviews. The product retails for $100 and is available online.
Running shoes with sustainable souls
Green Silence shoes also include a groundbreaking, full-length BioMoGo midsole. Touted as the “world’s first biodegradable midsole,” BioMoGo is used in most of the company’s running shoes. According to Brooks, traditional midsoles use Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA), which can last up to 1,000 years in a landfill. On the other hand, once this product hits an enclosed landfill, the natural additive in this product breaks down into a non-toxic byproduct in about 20 years.
According to the website, “the midsoles will be completely converted by common soil microbes into useful humus and nutrients.” And just in case you are wondering – the shoes won’t begin to break down while you are wearing them or when they are in the closet. Breakdown only occurs when three conditions occur simultaneously – low oxygen, presence of many microbes and adequate moisture. Brooks’ midsole manufacturing process also reduces waste by about 50 percent compared to other midsole manufacturers. And Brooks’ outsoles are constructed with a special High Performance Rubber (HPR), made out of sand instead of oil.
All paper used by Brooks is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The company’s shoe box uses 100 percent PCR paperboard. Shoe stuffing (stay) and silica packets are no longer used and shoe box tissue has been reduced by 25 percent.
Brooks also offers a unique opportunity for consumers in its Biomechanics Lab Testing and Wear Testing Programs. If you live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and meet the participant requirements, you may be able to test and evaluate the company’s products.
Besides footwear, the company also sells accessories and apparel. The Brooks for Her program, launched in 2009, raised nearly $27,000 to help fight breast cancer. A portion of the sales on select Brooks for Her apparel was donated to three organizations for breast cancer research and support. The program continues today.
The Washington-based company, founded in 1914, is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2008 Trail Runner Sprout Award and the 2008 Footwear News Green Award. The company also received the 2006 Best Innovation Award for the company’s “environmental stewardship efforts” and the 2008 International Green Award from Runner’s World.